American AAdvantage says award availability is going to get better starting later in the year however in the meantime on the whole finding saver award space on American’s own flights is an almost pointless task much of the time.
However they do open space from time to time, in spurts and usually for 24-48 hours at most. When they do you need to grab it, it doesn’t last.
Right now New York JFK – Rio De Janeiro has great availability in business class for at least four passengers between February 26 through July 10 on midweek flights.
This is operated by a Boeing 777-200 with fully flat seats and direct aisle access.
For the return flight Sundays work but availability for four business class passengers dries up in mid-June.
Of course when business class awards are available, upgrades are too, making this a good time to buy coach tickets to South America and confirm upgrades to business using systemwide upgrades.. especially while it’s still possible to go from economy to business class, and not merely to premium economy as many expect to be the case in the future.
American lets you put awards on hold for 5 days even without miles in your account, making it possible to top off to get the 57,500 miles each way that AAdvantage charges.
Alternatively Cathay Pacific charges just 80,000 miles roundtrip and these flights won’t incur fuel surcharges. While Cathay’s Asia Miles program is an American Express and Citi transfer partner, transfers aren’t instant (usually takes 24-48 hours), and I wouldn’t bet that this space will still be there a couple of days from now.